Frequently asked questions

What are additional support needs? 
Children or young persons who face barriers to learning and require additional support to make progress in school education are said to have additional support needs.  These can be short or long term, or of unknown duration.  For instance, additional support may be needed for a child or young person who:

  • is being bullied
  • has emotional, behavioural or learning difficulties
  • has a physical or mental disability
  • is particularly gifted
  • is bereaved
  • is not a regular attendee
  • is “looked after”

These are just some examples.  The 2004 Act says that a child or young person has additional support needs if the child or young person is, or is likely to be, unable without the provision of additional support to benefit from school education provided or to be provided for the child or young person. 

How old is a young person?
A young person is someone who is 16 or 17 years old. A child is 0-15 years old.

What is a reference?
An appeal submitted to the ASNTS by the parent or young person in respect of a disputed decision or failure in respect of a co-ordinated support plan or placing request; or failure to provide or seek information at transition by the Education Authority responsible for the school education of the child.

What is a claim?
A claim is an appeal made to the ASNTS that a responsible body has discriminated against the person because of a disability.

What is a co-ordinated support plan? 
The co-ordinated support plan (CSP) is a document which confers statutory rights on the young person or parent and duties on the Education Authority.   It sets out the child or young person’s needs and the additional support he or she requires to overcome barriers to learning.

What is an Education Authority? 
Education Authority is another term for a council or Local Authority.

What is the code of practice?
The code of practice, known as the Supporting Children's Learning Code of Practice, is a document published by the Scottish Government giving guidance to Education Authorities and other agencies on how to use the functions given to them by the 2004 Act. It provides more detail than the legislation and is designed to achieve consistency of delivery among Scotland’s 32 Education Authorities.

What is a tribunal?
A tribunal make binding, final legal decisions (subject to appeal or review) on the matters in dispute.  Tribunal hearings tend to be more inquisitorial and less formal in approach than courts.  Each tribunal will comprise a legally qualified convener and two expert members, unless the case is decided by a convener sitting alone, where the Tribunal’s Rules make provision for this.

What is a hearing?
The occasion at which the tribunal hears the oral evidence, the legal arguments and decides the reference or claim.  As well as the convener and two members, the Secretariat will send a case officer who will clerk the hearing.  This will usually be the case officer who has dealt with the reference or claim from the beginning. The President has issued INFORMATION NOTE No 01/2014 to assist those who attend a tribunal hearing in providing an impression of what the proceedings will be likely to involve.

Who are the conveners? 
Each convener is a legally qualified person who chairs the hearing.

Who are the members?
Members are individuals with knowledge and experience of children or young people with additional support needs.  There will be two members at each hearing who, together with the convener, question, deliberate and come to a decision about the matter in dispute. Members are appointed from the fields of education, health and social work.

Will it cost anything?
There is no fee for making a reference or claim.  A tribunal will not normally make an award of expenses against either party but can do so it certain circumstances relating to the conduct of a party as specified in the Tribunal’s Rules. A tribunal will not make such an award without giving the party an opportunity to make representations.

You may be eligible to claim travelling expenses if you are required to attend a Tribunal hearing.  Please contact the Operations Team Leader - ASNTSadmin@scotcourtstribunals.gov.uk / 0141 302 5860.